Big Three Automakers To Shut Down Production Until End Of March

Coronavirus Update For Wednesday, March 18

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

[email protected]

CNBC is reporting that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-Fiat plan to temporarily close all U.S. factories as the coronavirus—also known as COVID-19—spreads across the nation.

According to CNBC, the Big Three bowed to pressure from union leaders and employees who called for protection from the pandemic that’s spread to more than 212,000 people in nearly every country across the globe.

At a briefing last night, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear fielded complaints about factory workers working too close together. Factories such as the Ford plant in Louisville and the Toyota plant in Georgetown are exempt from an executive order that closes all “public facing” businesses including gyms, movie theaters, hair salons, nail salons, spas, concert venues, sporting facilities as well as community and recreation centers.

On Tuesday night, the governor, who has already closed the dining areas of all restaurants across the commonwealth, said he might take action to also protect factory workers from being infected with COVID-19.

“There may come a time when we have to take additional steps,” Beshear said.

According to CNBC, Ford and General Motors will close their factories in the U.S., Canada and Mexico after Thursday evening through March 30. CNBC is also reporting that Fiat-Chrysler will shut down their factories, although the company had not shared any other details.

CNBC is also reporting that Honda North America announced Wednesday that it will be close four U.S.-based plants starting March 23 due to an anticipated decline in market demand. Honda plans to resume production by the end of the month.

This is a challenging time for the domestic automotive industry. In February, General Motors announced they were pulling out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, according to APNews.

APNews reported that the corporation planned to leave Australia and New Zealand by 2021 and sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China’s Great Wall Motors. General Motors plans to withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year, APNews reported.

Earlier this month, the Harrodsburg Herald reached out to management at the local Hitachi facility in Mercer County about potential disruptions in their supply line due to the coronavirus and a softening of the global car market. They declined to comment. We have reached out to them again and will update this story if and when they respond.

WKYT is reporting that Toyota will also shut down production at all of its North American plants—including the one in Georgetown—Monday and Tuesday.

The shut down includes the Georgetown plant, which will also be closed for Saturday, which was a scheduled production day for that plant, according to WKYT.

Production is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, but Toyota’s plans are still  fluid, WKYT reported.

Campbellsville Expands Online Classes For Rest Of Semester

Campbellsville University has announced that all classes will be held online for the rest of the spring semester. When the university halted in-person instruction  last week, the original goal was to resume classes on March 27.

According to  press release, students who live on campus can remain in the residence halls or return home. Students who don’t have internet access can still use campus or center facilities. All university events including sports competitions and practices have been postponed until further notice.

University food service will continue for students and employees only. Special wellness stations will be set up at the Campbellsville, Harrodsburg and Somerset campuses.

As with other colleges across Kentucky, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended until further notice.

For more information, visit www.campbellsville.edu/coronavirus.

Farmers National Bank Will Limit Public Access To Branch Lobbies

Farmers National Bank is temporarily offering limited public access to its branches, effective Thursday, March 19. The bank’s drive-thru lanes will remain open for service during normal business hours.

If customers or community members need to meet with a bank representative to open a new account, make loan request, investments or wealth management services, coin requests or safe deposit box access, they can do so by calling (859) 236-2926 or toll-free (866) 888-0220 to set an appointment. 

Farmers National Bank has bank facilities located in Danville, Burgin, Harrodsburg, Junction City, Lancaster, Perryville, Stanford, Liberty and Middleburg. The Harrodsburg Herald will continue to try to keep readers updated on closings in the area.

For more information about COVID-19, visit kycovid19.ky.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information. The state has also set up a free COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

Gov. Beshear will hold another briefing tonight at 5 p.m. You can watch the governor’s daily coronavirus briefings on Youtube.

Current Infections

There are currently 7,795 confirmed cases in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 27 confirmed cases in Kentucky. One person, a 66-year-old man in Bourbon County, has died. COVID-19 was only a contributing factor to the man’s death, according to Gov. Andy Beshear’s office. Check out the latest statistics at this website.

Leave a Comment